Posted on April 13, 2011

Fourth-edition of Gulf Film Festival (GFF) has shortlisted eight Qatari films, including five short-films produced by the Education department of the Doha Film Institute (DFI), for its official line-up.

A dramatic hike in the number of entries from Qatar was seen this year, increasing from just two movies in last GFF to eight making it the highest ever number from Qatar, during the festival’s four-year history. The eight films are included in the 153 films from 31 countries screening free to the public at Dubai Festival City from tomorrow till April 20.

“The strong presence of Qatari films proves that when the environment for local cinematic initiatives is provided through film festivals and film education, youth and talent find a platform to fulfill their creative ambitions and hone their skills and we are happy to have Qatari films in this cycle. This is a very positive sign for the regional industry,” said Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Festival Director.

One of six feature films competing in the official competition for feature films, Khalifa Al Muraikhi’s drama Clockwise is the story of Atique bin Barood, who finds a baby in a box on a remote island, and raises the baby. Thirty years later, the little boy, Saad, discovers that his father shares a secret relationship with djinn.

The Egypt-Qatar feature film Hawi, directed by rising star Ibrahim El Batout, depicts a group of people who strive for a better life despite the adverse circumstances that surround them. The film follows Youssef, released from prison after five years in solitary, and what happens when he meets prisoners he knew 20 years ago.

Competing in the Gulf Competition Shorts segment, Mahdi Ali Ali’s The Gulf Habibi tells the story of an unemployed French man attempts to show his real estate project to a man from the Gulf in the Champs Elysees avenue, to accomplish his girlfriend’s dream of living in the Gulf.

Five of the Qatari films to be screened at the festival have been created by budding filmmakers from DFI, highlighting the active participation of youth talent in the country’s emerging film sector. The films have been nominated for prizes in the official Student Short Film Competition, which acknowledges works made or produced by students during the course of academic study, or as part of a project.

All films were produced in Doha, as part of DFI’s short film programme for 2010. “We are incredibly proud of the films that have been selected. They exemplify what can materialise when young filmmakers are given the tools, support and education to be able to bring their stories to life. DFI holds immense belief in the effectiveness of mentoring to facilitate grassroots filmmaking as a foundation for a sustainable film industry,” said Scandar Copti, Head of DFI Education.

The five selected films include Demi-Plie by Faisal Al Thani, Land of Pearls by Mohammed Al Ibrahim, Donia by Amir Ghonim, Kanary by Sophia Al Maria and Um Al Sebian by Waffa Al Saffar.

source: The Peninsula